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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Schoolhouses—who knows

A romanticised version of a school building this is. But maybe that is the wrong word. It is not romanticised but a simplified drawing of the way schoolhouses used to look like, some time ago. And surely not romantic at all.

© 2011 by Heike Scharmann

One classroom for all ages. One teacher for all ages. Heated with a wood stove in winter, the wooden walls creaking of moisty sweat in summer. A bell under the roof calling the pupils to lesson like a church bell calling the worshippers.

When I think of the school houses where I got my education, first, a big rectangular concrete brick comes to my mind. Grey, beige, and brown are the dominant colours. Long corridors illuminated by neon tubes. Drawings of art classes hanging on white concrete walls. Always running feet on the cold cast stone floors. Highschool building was pretty much the same. Built in the mid sixties, both facilities had neither charm nor cosiness—as I believe former schoolhouses posessed.

© 2011 by Heike Scharmann

Of course, everyone has his very own perception of the schoolhouse he or she went to. And as uniquely different as we all are, as many opinions on schoolhouses might exist. And maybe I am exaggerating right now. As schoolgirl, I did not perceive my school building as a purpose-oriented crime to architecture. I remember school much more than the schoolhouse. What I thought of my teachers, their lessons, and my friends was much more important than the design of the building or rooms to ever think much of it. Yet, I believe that my aversion to anything concrete-made may date back to the days of my early youth. Who knows …

“Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinions in good men is but knowledge in the making.” (John Milton, 1608-1674)